Zweli Mkhize must take SA into his confidence on corruption allegations
25 May 2021
The allegations that the Minister of Health Dr Zweli Mkhize’s former spokesperson and personal assistant set up a front company that received R150m in Covid-related tenders from the Department of Health, billing outrageously inflated charges, are too serious to be brushed aside while they undergo lengthy investigation.
Three months after the allegations were first published, the Department this week repeated Dr Mkhize’s promise to make public the findings and recommendations of a Departmental investigation, once it has been finalised.
According to the Department, its contract with Digital Vibes has been suspended, and an SIU investigation is also ongoing.
The Department evidently hasn’t asked any of its staff or officials to step aside while the investigation is conducted. Nor has it been answering journalists’ questions.
“The non-response to various media queries by the department and the minister is out of ensuring that there is no interference with the ongoing investigations and all the necessary information and documents are shared with investigators,” the Department’s spokesperson Popo Maja explained on Monday.
If anything has sickened South Africans under lockdown more than Covid-19 itself, it has been the steady stream of evidence that has emerged of members of the privileged and/or connected classes looting our already paltry public health defences.
Dr Mkhize, who has rightfully been praised for his calm and professional management of the pandemic, must take South Africans into his confidence on the business activities of his former personal spokesperson Tahera Mather and former personal assistant Naadhira Mitha.
Nobody has alleged that Dr Mkhize bore personal knowledge of their dealings. But the detailed allegations speak, at least, to a massive breach by people in whom the Minister placed his trust.
With the country on the edge of its third wave of Covid, Dr Mkhize owes battered and bruised South Africans the reassurance that our national response is in good hands and our hard-earned cash is being well spent.
Issued by Brett Herron, Secretary General, GOOD, 25 May 2021